Drug Decriminalization Essay

1596 Words 7 Pages
In reviewing other countries drug policies, Portugal has found an answer to the drug epidemic. Previously, Portugal was spending millions and getting nowhere. In the 90’s drug problems increased significantly. “In 1991, 4,667 people were arrested for drug offenses. By 1995, this number was up to 6,380 and by 1998, the figure was 11,395 or 235 percent of the 1990 figure” (Loo 52). “ In 1999, nearly one percent of the populations, a hundred thousand people, were heroin addicts, and Portugal reported the highest rate of drug-related AIDS deaths in the European Union” (Specter 2).

In 2001 Portugal totally decriminalized personal drug use for all drugs. This didn’t mean that drugs were legal. When people got caught with drugs they would be
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First, I believe the rest of the United States should fully decriminalize and legalize marijuana. Secondly, Portugal’s drug policy seems to cut crime and reduce harm done. However, the drug use rate has not fallen. It just enables the drug addicts to continue the same lifestyle. Using what has happened in Mexico, crimes will always happen whether drugs are or are not decriminalized. There are so many drug addicts in jail because there is a big association between drug use and offending. Although decriminalization will lessen the amount of people sent to jail for personal use. Criminal punishment for drugs will more so focus on the trafficking aspect, as it should. What needs to happen is rather then decriminalizing all drugs, I think reducing the severity of the charges would work exceptionally. Instead of being charged with a felony for merely possessing a harder drug such as cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine, I think it should be lowered to a misdemeanor so long as it’s for personal consumption and not for trafficking. Lastly, along with the reduction of punishment I believe that there should be a focus on treatment. With a focus on treatment, the drug addict can go somewhere to get help. The cost of treatment as opposed to incarceration is much less (Me). Sadly, some people cannot afford treatment. If treatment does not work or the addict is not taking it seriously then and only then should jail be the solution. There has to be some form of pressure to stop. A three-strike rule would work diligently. Unfortunately, with drugs like heroin, cocaine, pills, and methamphetamines, the users don’t always get three

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